Have you spotted something strange lurking in your city this summer? Perhaps a hearing-impaired feline who likes it loud? Def Leppard — those candy-coated metallurgists from England — are alive and scissor-kicking their way through a 59-date North American tour to support a greatest-hits package, Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection. They’re also unleashing an all-covers album, Yeah!, on Sept. 20. It sounds like the perfect time to give the man on the mic, Joe Elliott, the shock of ages with some stupid questions.
[Guttural growl] Do you wanna get rocked?
It’s too early in the bloody morning. Gimme a break. Come 9 o’clock at night — absolutely.
How exactly do you get rocked?
According to Sammy Hagar, there’s only one way to rock, but surely there have to be other ways. There’s at least two and a half ways to rock. You can rock with your legs wide open. You can rock with your arms up in the air. Or you can just stage-dive and hopefully you don’t come up with a broken neck.
In retrospect, do you regret the skimpy Union Jack shorts?
Are you kidding? With all the women we used to get in those things? I wish I was still wearing ’em.
If you wanted to — and I’m not saying you should — could you get the guy from Ratt on the phone right now?
No. I met him once. He came to one of our gigs in 1988 and he was so out of his head, he couldn’t even clip his laminate onto his rope. We had to get our stage managers to do it for him. That’s when I knew we didn’t have much in common.
Def Leppard played a concert in Leeds a few years ago that was attended by Queen Elizabeth. How awkward was it when she threw her bra on stage during ”Pour Some Sugar on Me”. . .or was it during ”Animal”?
It was ”Pour Some Sugar on Me.” It was kind of awkward because her staff demanded it back after the gig. But by then, we’d abused it. We use it as a hammock now.
Rick Allen, your one-armed drummer, uses a drum set with specially rigged foot pedals. On this tour, does one of those pedals trigger a mechanism that rips your jeans perfectly every time?
No. I’ll tell you how that happened. They were sliced with a razor blade and washed. At the beginning of the tour, those jeans didn’t look like that. They only looked like that after about 120 gigs and 120 washing machines. Then they got a bit too obscene and they had to go because it wasn’t so much a rock show anymore as a peep show.
You guys are coheadlining some shows with Bryan Adams. Fifteen years ago, wouldn’t your mullets have been revoked for fraternizing with someone in the ”wuss rock” genre?
Mullets being revoked couldn’t happen quick enough for me. You can stick them on Jeff Foxworthy.
I love that you know Jeff Foxworthy.
I know of him. He comes in the same category as the singer from Ratt. I don’t have his number, either.